In 2016, New Jersey Governor Christie signed a bill relating to the termination of child support into law. This law went into effect on February 1, 2017, and it applies to all New Jersey child support orders. The law generally establishes that a parent’s duty of child support and medical support terminates when the child reaches 19 years of age. N.J.S.A. § 2A:17-56.67 to 56.73. A child support obligation also terminates if a child passes away, marries, or enters the military service. However, there are a number of exceptions that can result in a parent’s child support and medical support obligations to continue up until the child’s 23rd birthday.
For instance, a child support or medical support obligation can last beyond the child’s 19th birthday in the following situations:
- The child is still a high school student or enrolled in another secondary educational program.
- The child is attending college, vocational school, or graduate school on a full-time basis.
- The child was mentally and physically disabled prior to the age of 19, as determined by a federal or state governmental agency, and needs continued support.
- The parties agreed to an alternate support termination date.
- The court otherwise granted a period of continued support.
The termination of child support law also provides that no child support can continue after a child reaches the age of 23. Nonetheless, a court still can order a parent to pay for certain expenses related to raising and supporting the child past his or her 23rd birthday. For example, a court may order a parent to pay for a disabled child’s medical expenses or a portion of a college student’s tuition. However, this sort of order is considered to be financial maintenance rather than child support under New Jersey law. A court also can order a parent to maintain health insurance coverage for a child up to his or her 23rd birthday. Plus, either parent can voluntarily continue to provide health insurance for a child up to age 26, or in the state of New Jersey, up to the age of 31, if the situation meets certain criteria.
While New Jersey child support termination laws are relatively straightforward, but every case is different. Individual facts and circumstances can result in drastically different results from one case to the next. No matter how complex the issues in your case may be, however, we always will be here to help. The attorneys of Argentino Family Law & Child Advocacy, LLC, have handled cases involving all aspects of divorce, child custody, and parentage cases, as well as cases involving a multitude of other matters related to families and children. Please contact the experienced New Jersey family and child lawyers at our office if you have any legal questions about children and your family.